2018 Men’s NCAA Championships: Day 4 Prelims Live Recap


Welcome to the end.

It’s been the most thrilling NCAA Championships in a long time, and it all ends today. The meet has essentially narrowed from five teams down to three, and those three will set themselves up to win or lose the meet through their scoring opportunities earned this morning.

Indiana leads the way, followed closely by Texas, with Cal on the edge in third:

Current scores:

  1. Indiana – 325
  2. Texas – 306
  3. California – 291.5
  4. NC State – 252
  5. Florida 246

This morning’s prelims will start with the 200 back, featuring top-seeded Austin Katzwho has been on fire for the Texas men this week. John Shebat is the top returner, but ranked 31st and will look for a Dressel-like win qualifying from an early heat. 100 back champ Coleman Stewart is also in the mix.

The 100 free marks Caeleb Dressel‘s last shot at breaking a third hallowed time barrier this week. He broke 18 in the 50 free and 43 in the 100 fly, and now it’s time to assault the 40-second barrier in the 100 free. He’s the top seed, followed by Texas’s Tate JacksonNC State’s Ryan Held and Indiana’s Blake Pieroni.

In the 200 breast, last night’s 49-second man Ian Finnerty looks to double up on NCAA wins, while Andrew Seliskar will seek to give Cal its first event win of the week. They’ve got hometown hero Conner McHugh of Minnesota breathing down their necks.

The 200 fly features 2015 and 2016 champ Joseph Schoolingwho is looking for redemption after a brutal 2017 showing in this race. He’s got to pass top-seeded Vini Lanza of Indiana along with Cal’s Zheng Quah.

The morning will conclude with heats of the 400 free relay, where Dressel will again go after 39 (either as a leadoff or a split) and Texas will look to repeat as NCAA champs.

After that, we’ll get early heats of the mile, with the fastest 8 seeds swimming with finals. Today also includes platform diving, which should be a must-see competition after last night’s dramatic finish on 3-meter.

Keep refreshing this page for live, event-by-event updates of all the action from Minneapolis. And stay tuned to @SwimSwamLive on Twitter for even more up-to-the-second coverage.

200 BACKSTROKE – Prelims

  • NCAA record: Ryan Murphy (Cal), 2016, 1:35.73
  • American record: Ryan Murphy (Cal), 2016, 1:35.73
  • U.S. Open record: Ryan Murphy (Cal), 2016, 1:35.73
  • 2017 NCAA Champion: Ryan Murphy (Cal), 1:36.75

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. John Shebat, Texas – 1:38.02
  2. Anton Loncar, Denver – 1:38.62
  3. Jonathan Roberts, Texas – 1:38.73
  4. Austin Katz, Texas – 1:38.84
  5. Patrick Mulcare, USC – 1:38.85
  6. Bryce Mefford, Cal – 1:39.04
  7. Dean Farris, Harvard – 1:39.21
  8. Abrahm Devine, Stanford – 1:39.22

John Shebat of Texas blasted a huge morning swim of 1:38.02 to win one of the first few heats and hold up as the top qualifier. That’s actually six tenths faster than he went in prelims last year before going 1:37.2 in the final.

Texas got the big point boos they needed, with three A finalists and four scorers total. Jonathan Roberts went out fast and held on in his heat to sit 3rd (1:38.73), and teamate Austin Katz was second in that heat and fourth overall, touching out USC’s Pat Mulcare by .01 in the heat.

Denver’s Anton Loncar had a great morning swim to defend his All-America status from last year, and he sits #2 heading into tonight with a 1:38.62 – that’s much faster than he was in taking 7th last year.

Cal freshman Bryce Mefford continued his great meet, surging to the A final in 1:39.04. His teammate Daniel Carr will be in the B heat.

Texas should be in great shape in this event, while Cal held its own. Here’s a look at the A and B finalists for the top teams:

  • Texas – 3/1
  • Cal – 1/1
  • NC State – 0/2
  • Indiana 0/1
  • Florida 0/0

100 FREESTYLE – Prelims

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Caeleb Dressel, Florida – 40.68
  2. Blake Pieroni, Indiana – 41.16
  3. Ryan Held, NC State – 41.26
  4. Justin Ress, NC State – 41.34
  5. Santo Condorelli, USC – 41.69
  6. Jacob Molacek, NC State – 41.74
  7. Townley Haas, Texas – 41.80
  8. Tate Jackson, Texas – 41.82

Caeleb Dressel cruised a morning swim of 40.68, beating the field by half a second without looking like he was really trying. Indiana’s Blake Pieroni was second in that heat and second overall in 41.6, with NC State’s duo of Ryan Held and Justin Ress taking third and fourth.

NC State will make a big point run in this event tonight – and a much-needed one – with 3 A finalists. Jacob Molacek was 6th in 41.74.

Texas snuck two into the A final in the final two spots – Townley Haas split his 41.80 20.0/21.7 and Tate Jackson was 41.82 to get into the A final by .01. USC’s Santo Condorelli was the other A finalist.

This event was historically fast, with 13 men breaking 42 seconds and 42.25 being the slowest scoring time of the morning.

Texas may have just won the meet with this event. They now have 5 A finalists and 2 B finalists. Cal put no one into scoring range at all in this event and Indiana got one up and one down. A look at the running up/down tallies:

  • Texas 5/2
  • Indiana 1/2
  • Cal 1/1
  • NC State 3/2
  • Florida 1/1

200 BREASTSTROKE – Prelims

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Ian Finnerty, Indiana – 1:51.08
  2. Andrew Seliskar, Cal – 1:51.17
  3. Tommy Cope, Michigan – 1:51.87
  4. Mark Szaranek, Florida – 1:52.08
  5. Alex Evdokimov, Cornell – 1:52.30
  6. Conner McHugh, Minnesota – 1:52.62
  7. Connor Hoppe, Cal – 1:52.79
  8. James Guest, Georgia – 1:53.10

Indiana’s Ian Finnerty went out fast and then cruised to the top qualifying time in 1:51.08. It’s hard to say whether he faded or purposefully stepped off the gas, but his Big Ten time suggests the latter. He’ll lead Cal’s Andrew Seliskar by .09.

Michigan’s Tommy Cope pushed Seliskar in their heat, ultimately moving to 3rd in 1:51.87, a great swim that cuts a full second from seed. Florida added one more A finalist with Mark Szaranek.

Cal’s Connor Hoppe had a huge, gutsy swim from an un-circle-seeded heat to make the A final in 1:52.79. Though Texas still seems firmly in control, two A finalists keep Cal in the mix. Indiana has Finnerty looking to score big, but Levi Brock got stuck with 10th in 1:53.17, which will hurt IU’s scoring potential.

An updated look at up/downs:

  • Indiana – 2/3
  • Texas – 5/2
  • Cal – 3/1
  • NC State – 3/2
  • Florida – 2/1

200 BUTTERFLY – Prelims

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Andreas Vazaios, NC State – 1:39.68
  2. Jan Switkowski, Florida – 1:40.13
  3. Justin Wright, Arizona – 1:40.23
  4. Vini Lanza, Indiana – 1:40.39
  5. Mike Thomas, Cal – 1:40.48
  6. Trenton Julian, Cal – 1:40.63
  7. Gunnar Bentz, Georgia – 1:40.72
  8. Zheng Quah, Cal – 1:41.00

In a massive event for Cal, the Bears put three into the A final to surge to the prelims lead with 6 A finalists. Mike Thomas came through for 5th, running down a fading Texas senior Joseph Schooling in the final heat, and just as quickly as we’d crowned Texas national champions, things got interesting again.

Cal also has freshman Trenton Julian 7th and Zheng Quah took 8th by just .04 seconds. Texas does have Sam Pomajevich in scoring range, but he was 10th in 1:41.07, adding two tenths to his seed. Schooling fell to 26th and will miss both finals for the second-straight year after winning back-to-back titles as a freshman and sophomore.

NC State’s Andreas Vazaios had the fastest time of the morning, going 1:39.68 and holding up as the only swimmer under 1:40 in prelims. Florida’s Jan Switkowski is just on the other side of that barrier along with Arizona’s Justin Wright (who many fans might know as a semi-regular SwimSwam commenter).

Indiana will have Vini Lanza in the title hunt, sitting fourth in 1:40.39. He’s been sub-1:40 before this season. Georgia’s Gunnar Bentz also made the A final in 7th.

Here’s an updated look at the up/downs:

  • Indiana – 3/3
  • Texas – 5/3
  • Cal – 6/1
  • NC State – 4/2
  • Florida – 3/1

Bear in mind that Texas probably adds 1/1 and Indiana 1/0 in diving.


  • NCAA record: Texas (Ringgold, Conger, Haas, Schooling), 2017, 2:45.39
  • American record: NC State (Held, Ress, Molacek, Stewart), 2018, 2:45.69
  • U.S. Open record: Texas (Ringgold, Conger, Haas, Schooling), 2017, 2:45.39
  • 2017 NCAA Champion: Texas (Ringgold, Conger, Haas, Schooling), 2017, 2:45.39

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. NC State – 2:44.75
  2. Indiana – 2:47.11
  3. Texas – 2:47.31
  4. Florida – 2:47.52
  5. California – 2:47.97
  6. USC – 2:48.19
  7. Alabama – 2:48.78
  8. Auburn – 2:49.30

NC State swam to a new NCAA, U.S. Open and American record in prelims – and they did it without even swimming their best lineup.

The Wolfpack put Mark McLaughlin on this relay this morning, getting a 42.24, but they used Coleman Stewart at ACCs for a 41.66. That means NC State could be at least a half-second faster tonight after already bettering Texas’s NCAA and U.S. Open records from last year and NC State’s own American record from ACCs.

Ryan Held led off in 41.09, moving him up to #6 all-time in the 100 free. Jacob Molacek was 41.07, bettering his ACC split by seven tenths of a second. Justin Ress anchored in 40.35, a half-second better than his ACC split and within two tenths of what was the fastest 100 free split in history prior to this morning.

We say that because one heat before NC State, Florida’s Caeleb Dressel lowered his own fastest split in history from 40.20 to 40.15, anchoring Florida into 4th overall.

Indiana sits second overall, still fighting to hang onto the NCAA points lead despite holding two less scoring swims tonight than Texas and one less than Cal. Blake Pieroni was 41.11, Bruno Blaskovic 41.84 and Ali Khalafalla 41.76 for IU, with Mohamed Samy leading off in 42.40.

Texas sits third in 2:47.31, using three quarters of its likely best lineup. Brett Ringgold was 41.96 leading off, Townley Haas was 41.33 and Tate Jackson 41.11, with Jeff Newkirk going 42.9 on his leg. Last year, Texas used Joseph Schooling for a 41.0 and should be able to cut close to two seconds tonight if Schooling is on.

Cal is fifth, getting a 41.5 from Michael Jensen and a 41.9 from Andrew SeliskarUSC got a pair of 41.5s from Dylan Carter and Ralf Tribuntsov to sit sixth, and Alabama (41.9 from Zane Waddell) and Auburn (41.75 leadoff from Zach Apple and 41.7 from Peter Holoda) round out the A heat.

In particular, Apple would have made the A final had he swum that 41.75 in his individual 100 instead of the 41.85 that got him 10th.

Fastest splits:

Platform Diving – Prelims

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Jordan Windle, Texas – 480.20
  2. David Dinsmore, Miami (FL) – 470.50
  3. Colin Zeng, Tennessee – 437.40
  4. Tyler Henschel, Texas A&M – 422.70
  5. Andrew Capobianco, Indiana – 422.60
  6. Nick Yang, Minnesota – 387.90
  7. Dashiell Enos, USC – 386.95
  8.  Zach Cooper, Miami (FL) – 384.30

Texas freshman Jordan Windle looks like the class of the field on platform, besting defending NCAA champion David Dinsmore by 10 points in this morning’s prelims. Those two should finish 1 and 2 tonight, battling for the title.

Texas will have 1 diver in the A final and 1 in the B, with Jacob Cornish finishing 12th this morning. He’ll dive in the consols shortly.

Indiana got freshman Andrew Capobianco into the A final in 5th. He’s their only diving entrant tonight.

Based on prelims, Texas should score 25 points in diving, while Indiana should score 14. That might just tip the national title to Texas, which trails IU by a single point after scoring swimming prelims, but now should lead by about 10 with diving factored in.

The only other wild card is the mile, where neither Texas nor IU are expected to have any scorers, though Cal is seeded to score 20 points from two swimmers.

Back to diving: defending platform NCAA runner-up and last night’s 3-meter winner Steele Johnson will not be in the mix tonight. He missed the A final, finishing 9th by just 6 points after struggling on his low-degree-of-difficulty round 5 dive.

Full diving results

In This Story

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JP input too short
3 years ago

Last year’s final day featured NCAA records in every event but one. Can that get matched this year? Plus the tight team race. What a meet!

Eddie Reese's glasses
Reply to  JP input too short
3 years ago


Bob Glover
3 years ago

Let’s go today! Go Hoosiers!

Reply to  Bob Glover
3 years ago


3 years ago


Reply to  swimswamswum
3 years ago

i told my friends thats what he will do. just skip history making and go right to mythological.

3 years ago

Quah was disastrous on 100 fly 200 fly will be between lanza and switkovski

Reply to  Rafael
3 years ago

He improved his time from last year…

Reply to  Rafael
3 years ago

Disastrous? It was off of his best time by a little but I wouldn’t say disastrous. With that being said, Jan wins this.

Drama King
Reply to  PKWater
3 years ago

Sam for the win ?

Reply to  Rafael
3 years ago

Watch out for Mike Thomas, after that 400 IM. Not quite giving up on Schooling either. Justin Wright’s been a monster this year. Lots of candidates…

3 years ago

I can’t wait to polish off a tray of brownies and watch mind blowing swims.

3 years ago

Scored some tickets for prelims. Can’t believe I get to see Dream Farris in person!

Autocorrect changed Dean to Dream. I’m leaving it.

Right Dude Here
Reply to  Roch
3 years ago


Reply to  Roch
3 years ago

I’ll never understand.

3 years ago

I’m excited for these Miles. In the past few years it has been the best race of the meet!

Drama King
Reply to  PKWater
3 years ago

No Clark. No fun.

Reply to  Drama King
3 years ago


Competitive Trash Talker
Reply to  PKWater
3 years ago

@DRAMA KING – in 2016 Clark didn’t show up the last 1000 of the race and it was arguably the greatest NCAA race of all time with Chris Swanson running down Akaram Mahmoud the last 50 by nearly 3 seconds.

samuel huntington
3 years ago

I have a feeling Texas will do just enough to win this meet

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  samuel huntington
3 years ago

You mean their divers will.

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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